Mark* attended Knox Grammar School – run by the Uniting Church – as a boarder for three years in the late 1980s. Throughout his stay, Mark was repeatedly abused both physically and sexually by two of his teachers. When he tried to tell the Headmaster, no appropriate action was taken, deepening Mark’s psychological wounds and causing him to leave school.
Mark has endured ongoing pain, suffering and economic loss as a result of his time at Knox. Expert evidence was obtained which showed a chronic psychological injury caused by his abuse at the school.
Through evidence given to the Royal Commission, it was established that Knox and the two paedophile teachers were already on notice of similar allegations of abuse by the time Mark was abused. No action was taken to protect students like Mark and it was apparent that Knox was aware of the risk the teachers posed before the incidents occurred.
In 2015, Mark retained Kelso Lawyers to pursue damages against the Uniting Church for a lifetime of emotional suffering caused by the abuse at Knox.
A letter of demand was issued to the Uniting Church confirming Mark’s decision to pursue compensation from the Church outside the parameters of their own redress scheme.
Previously, a statutory time limit applied to civil actions for child abuse. Victims had to bring about action within a certain time period or they would be “time-barred”.
By the time Mark decided to pursue damages, debate had been raised in the NSW Parliament about abolishing the limitations period for child sexual abuse matters.
This provided leverage and persuaded the Church to agree to respond to the matter outside their standard capped redress scheme.
Correspondence between Kelso Lawyers and the lawyers acting on behalf of the Uniting Church commenced. Counsel was briefed, a schedule of damages in accordance with common law principles was prepared and mediation was scheduled.
Mark’s matter resolved successfully through mediation in accordance with a common law assessment of damages. The financial outcome far exceeded what was offered under the Uniting Church’s redress scheme.
Mark’s emotional trauma is far from over but by seeking damages against the Uniting Church with Kelso Lawyers, he is one step closer to freedom and justice.
*name changed to protect privacy.
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